We talk a lot about transitions at Transitioning Well. In fact, we live and breathe it every day and constantly reflect on how transitions impact every aspect of our lives and work. You might think that when we’re going through our own transitions, we’ve got it all covered. I can assure you we don’t.
My 18-year-old son is about to start his VCE exams. He got his driver’s license a few months ago and had his last day of school on Friday. I’m in the midst of supporting him while navigating the transition to parenting an adult, and it’s literally all the feels!
At times of transition, we’re adapting to our ‘new normal’ – this process impacts our roles, relationships, routines, and assumptions (Goodman, Schlossberg, & Anderson, 2006). The transition for parents of Year 12 students is rarely spoken about, but it impacts all four of those areas.
Watching your child navigate this stressful and emotional time can be challenging. The entire family unit may be navigating disruption, and our ‘normal’ responses and rhythms are tipped on their heads.
There’s a gamut of mixed emotions, from praying your child doesn’t get sick on exam day to an enormous sense of joy and pride at what they’ve achieved this far. There’s nostalgia galore wondering where the years have gone to being grateful they can pick up groceries and younger children from play dates.
For the first time in three years, Year 12 students are having a somewhat ‘normal’ experience in their final year of schooling. Yet the stunted development and growth they have experienced through Covid lockdowns in the lead-up to VCE have undoubtedly had an impact.
Transition is the internal process by which we come to terms with change and it takes time. For those students and parents navigating the Year 12 transition – we haven’t had the precedented lead-up to this final chapter that our pre-Covid friends and colleagues had. We are navigating this new normal in an (almost) post-pandemic reality that still feels very shaky and unstable.
While most of us are still adapting to new ways of living and working, our adult kids about to embark on exams under a cloud of uncertainty about what life and work looks like beyond school.
If this is your reality right now, know that you’re not alone. Understanding the path of transition is helpful, and if you’re like me and riding the wave of emotions – we’re nearly there, though I suspect a lot more will come splashing our way!